by Janiss Garza
(First appeared in BAM Magazine, 7/12/96)
Dig were going to call their new record Hot Onion Yogurt. But
judging from their photo session for that album title, perhaps it
wasn't such a good idea after all.
"We had these leisure suits on," singer/guitarist Scott Hackwith
laughingly recalls. "I don't know what we were thinking! But we
bought five gallons of yogurt, and throughout the shoot, we ended
up having more and more, and then we had a yogurt fight--it was
disgusting! We had yogurt coming out of our ears for weeks!"
Their record label, Radioactive, suggested that maybe it would be
better to come up with something else. So, instead, they called the
album Defenders of the Universe--and because they'd spent all
their art money on the aborted yogurt concept, Scott wound up in
his backyard with a friend (unpaid, of course), throwing together
an appropriate montage. It was shades of their last record--1993's
self-titled debut album--in which the cover art had the same,
Nevertheless, Defenders of the Universe is light years away from
their previous album, dig. Explains Hackwith: "Before, it was more about a sound--'How many guitars can we layer here? How many pedals can we run this through?'" This time, the group--which includes guitarist Jon Morris, bassist Phil Friedmann, and new members guitarist Dix Denney (who you may remember as a
former member of both the Wierdos and Thelonious Monster) and
drummer Matt Tecu--concentrated on making the songs
themselves stand out. Tunes like "Whose Side You On," "Little Pill," and "Bashing in Your Head" have a sharper, hookier edge.
The guys wore themselves out touring nonstop for the last record.
Because the single from that one, "Believe," hit MTV's Buzz Bin
for 12 weeks, they felt they had something to prove. "We had to show people that this wasn't some corporate bullshit," Hackwith
asserts. That proven, the group is ready to do it all over again for
Defenders. However, Jon Morris chuckles, "We're gonna pace ourselves a little better this time!"